INDIANAPOLIS –Rutgers basketball coach Fred Hill is facing possible termination following an incident last week in which he reportedly got into a verbal confrontation at a school baseball game, according to a report by Gannett New Jersey.
“We are actively investigating the incident involving the head men’s basketball coach that took place at our baseball game last Thursday on campus. The reports and eyewitness accounts are very concerning,” Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said in a statement.
The story was first reported by Keith Sargeant and Jerry Carino of Gannett New Jersey.
According to the initial account, following a controversial call at first base in the ninth inning of Rutgers’ 9-8 victory over Pittsburgh last Thursday at Bainton Field, Hill stood in front of the Rutgers dugout yelling profanities at Pitt baseball coach Joe Jordano and his staff.
Fred Hill Sr., Fred’s father, is the longtime baseball coach at Rutgers.
Pitt AD Steve Pederson spoke with Pernetti the following day and expressed concern over the incident, according to Gannett.
A Pitt spokesman said the school had no comment on the matter.
The incident could lead to Hill’s termination because he has several behavior clauses in his contract.
Gannett cited Section 9, Paragraph B of Hill’s contract as saying: “Should Hill be in violation of NCAA or Big East Conference … principles of conduct … he shall be subject to disciplinary or corrective action … including suspension without pay or termination of employment for significant or repetitive violations.”
The report indicates Section 9, Paragraph C states: the athletic director may impose discipline, including suspension or termination, for “serious or persistent … willful misconduct, act of moral turpitude, or any other conduct … that brings shame or disgrace to Rutgers.”
The report further says that Pernetti specifically told Hill to stay away from future Pitt-Rutgers baseball games, but that Hill showed up on Saturday anyway.
“Tim couldn’t have been more specific about staying away,” a source told Gannett New Jersey. “And then Saturday, Tim’s there [at the game] and sees Freddie parked by a tree, sitting in the drivers seat crunched down.”
In a related development, 6-8 St. Benedict’s Prep senior forward Gilvydas Biruta called Pernetti Monday and asked to be released from his Letter of Intent.
“He called yesterday and asked to be released,” a source with knowledge said.
Pernetti would have to agree to let Biruta out and he could then opt to pick another school.
Following the basketball season, Pernetti gave what many interpreted as a lukewarm endorsement of Hill.
“Fred Hill is under contract as our men’s basketball head coach. We had a productive meeting and look forward to working together to build the program,” Pernetti said last month.
Hill has compiled a 47-77 record over four years — including a 15-17 mark this past season — and was the target of much heat at games and on the messageboards from a frustrated fan base.
Yet it would have cost the University about $1.5 million to buy Hill out, and the school opted to let him remain.
(Photo courtesy NJ.com)